Divorces, splits, and breakups are never easy, for a variety of reasons. When you combine two lives to that degree, untangling them, especially shared property, at the end often becomes a mess.
One of our founding partners, Rick Jones, makes regular appearances on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show, where he answers family law questions from listeners. One recent caller’s situation illustrates just how much you have to deal with.
There’s a lot to unpack in this call. First, the caller and his ex own a house together but never married. She also has a protection order in place against him. He also owns other properties on his own. And if that’s not enough, he worries his ex has done this before, that she has bought property with a partner only to snatch it away when the relationship ends, and that she may try to go after his other houses as well.
Hear how the property battle plays out below:
Caller: “I’m not married to my former girlfriend, but we mutually own a house together. And I purchased another [property] while we were together. We have agreed to separate, and she’s baited me into a couple conversations, or arguments, and recorded them and got a protection order.”
Danny: “She got a protection order because you called her a b**** to her face, or some such thing, at a high volume?”
Caller: “Yes, she owns several properties in another state, and I’m terrified she’s done this to people before. It was very contrived and instigated.”
Rick: “So you’re wondering if this is a backdoor way of taking the house that you share with her?”
Caller: “Yeah, and possibly half ownership of the other one.”
Rick: “How long were you together?”
Caller: “Three-and-a-half years. “
Rick: “Well the good news is this, I’m not worried about it creeping into ‘committed intimate relationship’ status, something that gives her some sort of legal entitlement. So the reality is, even though you have this protection order to deal with as a separate item and that may have been her ticket to be the one staying in the home for now.
“The reality is, the two of you were just simply co-owners, just like if it was you and me owning this house together. So it is a division, whether you can reach a settlement on how it happens. She keeps the house and buys you out, you keep the house and buy her out, or the house gets sold. Those are your three options.”
Danny: “Buddy, I am leaning towards that you’re right, about your suspicion that she’s a pro. That she’s done this before and will do it again. My call, and what Rick Jones says more eloquently than I, you need to protect yourself hard and fast.“
Related Reading: Moore Marsden, Shared Homes, and Divorce